Friday, August 29, 2008

नए नाम, नए रंग

यूँ तो मैं Bangalore हवाई अड्डे पर कई बार उतरा हूँ। वही पुराना HAL हवाई अड्डा। पर इस बार कहानी कुछ और ही थी। Bangalore हवाई अड्डा Bangalore की जगह Bengalooru हवाई अड्डा हो चुका था। शहर का नाम तो बदल ही गया था, साथ ही हवाई अड्डा भी बदला था।

अगर आप इस शहर की थोडी बहुत ख़बर रखते हैं तो आपको पक्का ही यह पता होगा कि यहाँ नया हवाई अड्डा बनने को लेकर कितने विवाद हुए हैं। जिनमें हवाई अड्डे कि शहर से दूरी प्रमुख कारण रहा है। परन्तु इस बार जब मैंने हवाई अड्डे को देखा तो पाया कि अड्डा शहर से दूर बनाना काफ़ी हद तक एक सूझ बूझ भरा काम है। क्योंकि नया हवाई अड्डा जहाँ सुंदर और उच्च कोटि का बनाया गया है, उसे बनाने के लिए जितनी जगह की ज़रूरत थी उतनी जगह शहर में ढूंढ़ना एक मूर्खता ही होता। खासकर तब जब पूरा शहर ट्रैफिक की कठिन समस्या से गुज़र रहा है।

बंगलोर हवाई अड्डे का... माफ़ कीजिए, बेंगलुरु हवाई अड्डे का वर्णन यहाँ करना थोड़ा कठिन काम है। बस इतना ही कहा जा सकता है की जो हवाई अड्डे आपने यश चोपडा जी की फिल्मों में देखे होंगे उनके यह काफ़ी करीब है।

साथ ही साथ हवाई अड्डे ने शहर के विस्तार को एक नई दिशा दी है। मतलब, बेंगलुरु जो अभी सभी दिशाओं में बेतरतीब बढ़ रहा था, उसे बढ़ने के लिए एक दिशा विशेष मिल गई है जहाँ अभी बहुत सी सुविधाएँ आसानी से मिल सकेंगी।

आशा करता हूँ कि बेंगलुरु का नया नाम लोगों को पसंद आए या न आए, शहर का यह नया रूप सबको ज़रूर पसंद आएगा।

रॉक कर गई रॉक ऑन

रॉक ऑन, दिल चाहता है और लक्ष्य जैसी फिल्में बनने वाले निर्देशक फरहान अख्तर द्वारा अभिनीत पहली फ़िल्म है और इसीलिए अधिकांश युवा वर्ग के दर्शकों को इसका बेसब्री से इंतज़ार था।

और आखिरकार यह इंतज़ार काफ़ी सार्थक सिद्ध हुआ।


रॉक ऑन हालांकि कोई एकदम नई कहानी नहीं है मगर अच्छे निर्देशन और कलाकारों के दम पर यह साधारण कहानी भी लोगों के ह्रदय को छूने की क्षमता रखती है। फिल्म दोस्ती और रिश्तों के अर्थ को काफी अच्छे तरीके से दिखाने में सक्षम रही है और इसलिए यह आशा की जा सकती है की फिल्म दर्शकों द्वारा पसंद की जायेगी।

फ़िल्म में फरहान का अभिनय अभिनेता के रूप में अपनी पहली फ़िल्म कर रहे अभिनेता के लिए निश्चय ही अच्छा है।

फिल्म में अर्जुन रामपाल का अभिनय भी काबिले तारीफ है। कहा जा सकता है की यह आज तक उनकी सर्वश्रेष्ठ फिल्मों में से एक है।

अंत में, फ़िल्म में जान डालने का श्रेय मिलता है शंकर एहसान और लॉय को जिन का संगीत प्रारम्भ से ही लोगों को पसंद आ रहा है। जावेद अख्तर के लिखे गीत भी अच्छे और काफ़ी अलग हैं।

कुल मिला कर रॉक ऑन लोगों को काफ़ी पसंद आ सकती है, लेकिन फरहान अख्तर लोगों की ऊँची उम्मीदों पर कितने खरे उतर पाएंगे यह पक्का नहीं कहा जा सकता।

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Olympics: More than Sports

I am often asked if the Olympic village - the vast restaurant and housing conglomeration that hosts the world's top athletes for the duration of the Games - is the sex-fest it is cracked up to be. My answer is always the same: too right it is. I played my first Games in Barcelona in 1992 and got laid more often in those two and a half weeks than in the rest of my life up to that point. That is to say twice, which may not sound a lot, but for a 21-year-old undergraduate with crooked teeth, it was a minor miracle...

A revealing article. Read HERE.

Maybe you want to participate in the next Olympics. :P

Monday, August 25, 2008

Big TV. Too BIG?

Seems the new Big TV is too big for my computer. First, I was unable to open the Big TV site on my laptop even after trying again and again. Later I got a view of the site in the basic HTML, of which you must be familiar if you work with gmail, that too could hardly be called working. Better have a look for yourself.


Probably it's because of high traffic on the site as they have hardly given any information on their advertisements that is covering full pages of all leading newspapers today.

I am feeling like Big TV is too Big for itself, and Mr Anil Dhirubhai Ambani will have to work bigger proportions to make problems small for him.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Proud of you, Vijender!

He could not win us another gold. But Vijender Kumar is India's hero. He's a person who has made us proud.

Vijender not only won us a bronze, he kept the hopes of a medal alive while fighting another champion. We all wish him luck for future.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ekta's view

Arundhati roy thinks India should free Kashmir, but Ekta kapoor is against that.

Guess why?

Because Kashmir starts with a 'K'.

Music on the go? Sorry!

Come on! Now i have to accept i was wrong. When i bought a new phone, i thought it was music on the go that was my top priority. As i consider myself a big music freak. And it's true, until internet comes in.

Yes, the thing i was keeping on a second priority, internet access has turned out to be my first love. I'm blogging on the go, and i'm reading newspapers online. Today when i bought the times of india in the bus to home from meerut, the first question on my mind was why i bought it in the first place, as i had already read two articles on my cell.

On the other hand, music is turning out to be something i'm not at all prefering to internet access. Though i've all new songs on my cell, and many of the old ones i love, it's not something i much like while on the run. Music also goes lower on priorities because it makes me look like i'm doing something different. Whereas accessing internet on the phone is a silent thing, like any other work on the phone.

Now, all i've understood is that i can go wrong on my likes and dislikes. Seems like part of evolution. Because me sticking to net is not a revolution at least.

Bad mind

It may be called a bad mind. Or a less working one. Whatever it was, i never understood the meaning of a line that went as 'tu hai ki mujhme sota nahi hai' of 'haan tu hai' song from jannat.

It was today when i realized the actual meaning of the song. Just in case u too are confused about the meaning, it's just that You never sleep inside me, that is, i always find you awake, present in my heart. It's a feeling that never dies.

I hope there r others too who didn't get the meaning. Cause i don't wanna think that its just me who has a bad mind. :)

Mis(s)-in-formed

Oops! This time i missed something. And it wasn't SOMETHING actually. It was the common entrance test form for admission to the indian institutes of management.

Well, it was my mistake completely. I didn't see that the last date of getting forms for the CAT from banks was 8th august. I just saw the last date of submission and reached bank to find later that the guard there was better informed than i was.

Well, the result will be that now i won't be able to take the exam and will have to stay with tcs. Now i'm waiting more eagerly for my joining date.

Once again

I've been bugged by drivers using cellphones many times. But this time it was a bit different. I'd seen owners of private vehicles using cells while driving. But this time it was a driver from a state owned roadways bus, when i was in a bus to meerut. I realized there was something wrong when the speed of bus was irregularly increasing and decreasing. And then i found what the reason was. The driver on a cellphone. Again and again.

I think we need to do something about it. Because safety is much more important. But what can be done, i don't know.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Vijender Kumar Semifinal Schedule


Vijender Kumar, the Indian boxer who has confirmed yet another medal for the country, will be playing his Semifinal on 22nd August.

The Schedule is as follows:

Men's Middle (75kg) Semifinal 2
Friday, August 22, 1245 IST
CORREA BAYEAUX Emilio (Cuba) vs KUMAR Vijender (India)

PS: The schedule has been calculated very carefully, but you may confirm the schedule from the official Olympics site.

All the Best to Vijender.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

U pick Ur STD plan: Latest from TRAI

Right from ET, 20th Aug '08

You’ll soon get to choose the cheapest STD and ISD tariffs, irrespective of your service provider. After recommending that internet telephony be opened up, telecom regulator TRAI this week will mandate that telcos offer their subscribers the freedom to choose a carrier of their choice for making long-distance calls, whether domestic (STD) or international (ISD).

This will start a new era of competition in long-distance calls, provided the government acts promptly to amend licence conditions to enable telcos comply with the TRAI directive.

What TRAI has in mind is not quite implementation of the carrier access code (CAC) project mooted several years ago. In the face of resistance by telcos to CAC and the willingness of the Department of Telecom (DoT) to play along with them, TRAI has come up with a variation. This is how it will work. Suppose, you are a Bharti subscriber and you find out BSNL is offering the cheapest long-distance tariffs.

You then buy a pre-paid long-distance package from BSNL for a specific duration. You punch in a set of numbers specified in the package to get on to the BSNL network, and then proceed to make the long-distance call you wanted to, and talk for as long as your pre-paid package permits.

Top Dug Pic!

The picture that was Dug most number of times in past sometime, getting hundreds of Diggs every hour.

Here is the link.

Sorry for not putting the pic here. ;)

Just in case SRK's 6 packs impressed you


The only question after seeing Phelps here is: Will Aamir Khan be perfect this time while flaunting his 6 pack abs in Ghajini?

Steve Jobs' Stories - 1

This is a part of Steve Jobs' speech at Pixar Studios in June 2005. I read this one in 'The World is Flat.'

Connecting the dots

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combination's, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

Keep TRAIing

India has certainly seen a revolution in the communication. Not just mobile phones have grown like anything but even call rates have gone down and down, in fact even when we have the lowest rates in the world, we are happily waiting for the next reduction in call rates which is almost sure to be there soon.

One major reason for these developments is the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. TRAI has always helped Indian telecom customers by regulating the operators in many ways and simultaneously coaxing the department of telecommunication for various exercises.

The recent permissions to internet telephony and mobile virtual network operators are some such points which are examples of pragmatism and futuristic approach of TRAI.

The latest step taken by TRAI is something important as it is related to mobile number portability (MNP). Where the DoT wants to divide the country into two zones, TRAI is demanding one single zone for the purpose. Having two zones means customers of North India cannot avail the service in the Southern region and vice versa. Whereas if there is a single zone, we can use a single number anywhere in the country and shift it to any operator working there. Interestingly in the start, DoT was talking about four or five zones, that would hardly be of any use.

So I hope TRAI wins and we get a single MNP zone for the country.

Keep TRAIing TRAI.

Hurrah! College calls

Here is the email I received from VIT today. The best in the past few days.

From: Alumni
Subject: You are invited to attend the 23rd Annual CONVOCATION at VIT
To: vecpat@yahoo. co.in
Cc: "VIT Placement"
Date: Tuesday, 19 August, 2008, 2:32 PM

Dear Alumni,

Greetings from VITAA !

Please attend the 23rd ANNUAL CONVOCATION on 31st August 2008 in VIT campus. Please visit our VIT website(www.vit.ac.in) for further details.

All the graduands of 2008 batch of VIT University are requested to visit the following link and provide the details requested:

http://www.vit. ac.in/convocatio n/twentythird/ frmreg.asp

Please forward this email to your friends/batchmates and pass-on this information.


VITAA-We Share:We Care

Thanks & Regards,

VIT Alumni Association ( VITAA )
Ph.:0416-2202248.

Jade Goody has cancer: Out of Bigg Boss 2

Jade Goody is out of Bigg Boss. Jade wasn't voted out, but the sudden decision was taken when it was found out that Goody has cervical cancer.

Jade consoled by Monica Bedi
'Jade's stay at the Bigg Boss house has been cut short with an unfortunate development. Only yesterday, the results of Jade's test were out [conducted in UK before her departure to India], and the tests indicate the possibility of cancer,' said a statement from Colors.

Jade, who might look considerably older to some, is only 27 years of age and was tested for cancer twice earlier, in 2004 and 2006.

She will be flown back to UK on Tuesday night. Sources reveal that the footage of the incident may not be aired.

Media reports suggest that she is the highest paid participant on the show, drawing about Rs 80 lakh.

Shivratri @ Haridwar


On 30th July, I was in Haridwar for some work. Actually I had to go somewhere I could not bring a camera with me. That day was Shivratri and in Haridwar, people take kaanwar to the Ganga and take it back home.

That morning in Haridwar was something not to be missed. There were people all around on the roads, running with various types of Kaanwars, even moto-kaanwars. For those having no idea, kaanwar is a bow like structure that has to be taken to Haridwar from home and way back without letting it touch the ground. And there are tens of thousands of people taking kaanwars. Originally kaanwars were taken by people onfoot only but later there have been cycle kaanwars and now even motorcycles too. But still, the largest number is that of those travelling all the way on foot.

So, not having my camera with me, I could only take a few pics with my cellphone. Here they are.



Monday, August 18, 2008

Oops!

When I am home, electricity might be a commodity, but continuous supply is surely nothing less than luxury. A luxury that is available from midnight to 5 in the morning.

At other times during the day, the power supply is continuously on and off, sometimes taking gaps in hours, sometimes in minutes, and sometimes even in seconds.

What happens due to these power cuts is a bit interesting and a lot frustrating. For example, I was watching Naam today and it was my favorite song Chithhi aayi hai that Pankaj Udhas was singing. In the song there is a line that goes as Des paraya chhod ke aaja, Panchhi pinjra tod ke aaja, Aaja umr bahut hai chhoti, apne ghar mein bhi hai roti. This is probably the best line of the song and that's the reason Pankaj has stressed the line and sang it twice. But as he started into the high pitch and the first word des was out of his mouth, the screen went blank.

Actually it's not something new for me. It's something as old for me as I am. Because it happens everyday, almost twice or thrice daily with things I am watching so intently. Similarly it so happens that when I click on something while online, the power goes and so does the broadband connection. And sometimes I have to do the whole exercise again.

The fact is that it is fine if there is a proper power cut of an hour or more, but when these cuts happen to be for 2 minutes, 5 minutes and 10 minutes, it's something that adds to only frustration.

Anyways, it's the small town life, and has it's own benefits too. After all, it's my home.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bigg Boss Season 2: WTF!!

Bigg Boss Season 2 has started on Colors. And believe me, things were getting harder and harder to digest as I was seeing the inmates of the Bigg Boss house. One thing that is sure is that controversies are bound to be there with so many controversial people out there. And the second thing sure is that Bigg Boss 2 will be attracting a lot of audience, solely on the basis of its inmates' profiles.

As Bigg Boss 2 started, I saw Ketki Dave entering as the first candidate. And though I was a bit surprised to see her there, she seemed too trivial a person as more followed. The second entrant, Zulfi Syed was again nothing surprising. And then it all started.

The first surprise came as I saw Rahul Mahajan. Seeing him I could only think WTF. My second thought was that he would never have been here had Pramod Mahajan been alive today, and third, what the father was, and what the son is.

Later, although, I felt he was a real dumb person. Or may be a genius otherwise.

Whatever, the next surprise came in as Raja Chaudhry, though not as much as it was with Rahul. Rakhi, Sweety of Hum Paaanch, Payal Rohatgi and Sambhavna Seth were not much surprising either, even though I felt Rakhi was no more sweety as age reflected on her face now.

Another little surprise was Ehsaan Kureshi, the well known stand up comedian and even Elina who was a non-celebrity yet. And so was Debojit Saha, the singer.

But a big blow came when I saw Ashutosh Kaushik, the winner of MTV Roadies 5.0, as an inmate of Bigg Boss Season 2.

And what followed Ashutosh made it clear that this Bigg Boss was going to be something. It was a person who could not be imagined in such a place. It was Maharashtra's Congress leader, former Saamna editor, Sanjay Nirupam. Even Shilpa Shetty said that the country must be thinking at this time why and how he was there.

The end of the show there was one female who did not surprise me ONLY because I knew in advance that she had to be there - Jade Goody, the lady who was there in Celebrity Big Brother with Shilpa Shetty and had helped her win the show, as she was at the center of allegations of bullying, racist and elitist comments against fellow housemate Shilpa.

Later I saw I had missed an entrant as I wasn't seeing the dance performances that took place there. It was Monica Bedi who had been with Abu Salem and had been in the jail for sometime.

In short, Bigg Boss Season 2 on colors is going to be something worth watching. With a number of controversial people from various fields in India, and one from abroad, Bigg Boss will surely be attracting audiences and TRPs. Let's see what happens in the house now.

True or Hopeless? Read it

In her Sunday Times column today, Shobhaa De writes something that moves you. Read it and decide for yourself how much you agree.

Little things make us happy. We are a bit too easy to please! One gold medal at the Olympic Games, and we are over the moon. As India enters the 61st year of its independence, it's important to get a few key perspectives in place. I heard about Abhinav Bindra's thrilling win from a bedraggled little girl selling tabloids at the traffic lights. It was raining rather heavily, and she was dressed in rags. Her tiny body and saucer eyes made her resemble the archetypal, romanticised waif — the poster girl for poverty, like the iconic image of the popular musical, Les Miserables. She tapped on the window of my car and lisped, "Madam, madam.... India ko gold medal mil gaya." She was shivering as she sold the damp paper to motorists, most of whom shooed her away.

The irony of the moment was hard to miss. While nobody can take away from crorepati Abhinav Bindra's individual achievement, the image of this emaciated street kid announcing his victory in distant Beijing, was a study in horrifying contrasts. Just a few metres away, i could see the rest of her family huddled under bright blue plastic sheets. The father was sorting out a heap of pirated books, while her mother was stringing jasmine blossoms into gajras... perhaps to adorn the chignons of our Mumbai memsaabs stepping out later for a night on the town. The kid was dancing with impatience, watchful of the traffic light turning green. Her unshod feet were immersed in puddles of filthy rain water. She could not possibly have known what that medal meant... but she did know it would sell more papers that day. And that made her happy! Amazing, how a complete stranger's win touches lives on different levels.

For the little girl, those few extra rupees may have translated into an extra vada pav at dinner. But for our canny politicians, Bindra's medal was an opportunity worth milking for their own glory. Take Maharashtra's chief minister, who magnanimously offered Rs 10 lakh to the gold medalist. Does this rich boy need it? Where does Maharashtra come into it? If the CM had Rs 10 lakh to spare and wished to acknowledge Bindra's victory, why didn't he put that money into a sports scholarship to benefit promising youngsters? Why offer monetary awards to someone who is a millionaire to begin with? Bindra is a particularly privileged sportsman who was born with a silver rifle... er ... spoon, in his mouth. He got to his present position, thanks to the happy fact that his father had the financial clout to support his son's passion. Lucky Bindra. He had what it takes to create a champion — the grit, determination and dough! India merely happens to be the country of his birth and can claim no credit for his impressive win. Bindra rose above and beyond what his country can provide... not only to him, but millions of others. He won despite being an Indian. Isn't that a really sad acknowledgement of this tattered state of ours?

But the waif at the traffic light proclaiming his victory to motorists does not realise this. She will never get to see the inside of a pucca home. For her, the blue plastic sheets will have to suffice. When she is a little older, her life will change. From selling newspapers, she may end up selling her body. Like so many others who survive on Mumbai's mean streets, turning tricks, hustling, peddling drugs. Her bright eyes and cheerful smile will be replaced by a hard, stony expression, a twisted mouth...but chances are she will still be working the same street, ducking into the back seat of an autorickshaw to satisfy customers looking for a monsoon quickie. If her father and mother haven't succumbed to some disease by then, they, too, will be languishing under the plastic sheets, living off her meagre earnings. Her line, "India ko gold mil gaya..." in such a depressing context, makes me ask, "Aur aapko — koila? Ya... woh bhi nahi?" Try telling her our Bharat is mahan. She may just punch you!

Original Text from The Sunday Times of India, August 17th 'o8.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Indian boxers at Beijing Olympics: Schedule

Three boxers from India, Akhil Kumar, Jitender Kumar, and Vijender Kumar, are now in Beijing Olympics quarterfinals, and all the eyes are on these three now.

So here is the schedule of the three boxers:

Monday, Aug 18, 5 PM (IST)
Men's Bantam (54kg) Quarterfinal 3
GOJAN Veaceslav (Rep. of Moldova) vs KUMAR Akhil

Wednesday, Aug 20, 4.45 PM (IST)
Men's Fly (51kg) Quarterfinal 2
BALAKSHIN Georgy (Russia) vs KUMAR Jitender

Wednesday, Aug 20, 6 PM (IST)
Vijender Kumar (75kg) Quarterfinal 4
GONGORA Carlos (Ecuador) vs KUMAR Vijender

For confirmation you can check the schedule on the official website of Beijing 2008.

Hope I get to write more schedule after this.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Two Steps Behind

Akhil Kumar is the only person in Beijing now who is keeping the hopes of 'one more medal' alive for Indians.

Akhil reached quarter finals after beating world champion Sergey Vodopyanov in the pre-quarters which, they say, was something unthinkable and unimaginable.

Pray for him. :)

Because Everyone Needs Independence

Everyone has a right to Independence. And it's time we understand that.



Happy Independence day.

Jaago: Small Movies by Big Directors

A few months back I saw a short film called Positive, made by Farhan Akhtar, starring Boman Irani and Shabana Aazmi. I loved the film. Later I found there was another movie called Blood Brothers, that was around the same topic, AIDS. And today I found a blog entry on PFC that reviews both these movies along with two more. Here it is:

Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, for one of their project on helping humanity, have united with 4 directors Mira Nair, Farhan Akhtar, Santosh Sivan and Vishal Bharadwaj to co-produce 4 short films on issues regarding AIDS education and awareness. These short films are taking the AIDS awareness on more personal level with some beautiful and some incredible journeys involving blood relations, lovers and strangers with urges either sexual or just plain human.

1. Migration (2007).
Directed by: Mira Nair.
Written by: Zoya Akhtar.
Starring: Shiney Ahuja, Sameera Reddy, Irfan Khan and Raima Sen.
URL: MIGRATION

Migration is a set of parallel stories between a husband and his lover, husband’s wife, a mason worker his wife and infants. This short is very well directed, right from the drought death visuals to marine drive tides. The cinematography is eye catching. Thanks to Shiney Ahuja’s speaking eyes and Irfan Khan’s emotions for his lover, one way maybe. The core message of the story is delivered by sex education street actor Vijay Raaz with Beedi song in the background. Its the unconventional migration that is thought and written by Zoya Akhtar gives a different but convincing journey. It was exciting to see marathi stage and screen actress Sulabha Deshpande as Sameera’s mother-in-law, little has she changed from Choukat Raja’s (1991) mother.

2. Positive (2007).
Directed by: Farhan Akhtar.
Written by: Rajesh Devraj.
Starring: Boman Irani, Shabana Azmi and Arjun Mathur.
URL: POSITIVE

Positive is the story of AIDS awareness for a family as one of the members becomes HIV positive. The effects of it in a broad picture and a very tiny extremely personal point of view is very well written by Rajesh Devraj, whose future writings are Farhan Akhtar starrer Fakir of Venice and Shashanka Ghosh project Quick Gun Murugun. Boman Irani is fantastic with his lowering speaking abilities and at the same time with the desires of a young photographer to capture something. But it needed Farhan Akhtar’s trick to bring out the moment absolutely necessary for this story. The moment when Arjun’s character is positioning the rose in the window. This is perhaps the same transformation moment that occured in Dil Chahta Hai (2001) when Akash (Aamir Khan) calls up Sameer (Saif Ali Khan) only to realise subconsciously he dialed Sid’s (Akshaye Khanna) number. Incredible. Shabana Azmi is short but plays the character who has already past previously mentioned transformation.

3. Prarambha (2007).
Directed by: Santosh Sivan.
Starring: Prabhu Deva and Skandhas.
URL: PRARAMBHA

A truck driver (Prabhu Deva) finds an unknown boy Kittu (Skandhas) hiding in the back of his truck. Truck driver finds it unsolvable to get rid of an unknown boy riding with him. Kittu hands him a letter written by his mother with an address. Truck driver agrees to take him there. But then out of humanity he finds himself on a quest to make the people around Kittu realise what he feels for kittu. This movie is a cry out towards those strangers who might have some humanity left in them. Prabhu Deva does a great job. His apological and optimistic smiles are the driving force for the audience and kittu as well. Skandhas as Kittu is nothing short of a applauding performance. He represents the understanding son, rejected school friend and a happy boy. Though there aren’t many opportunities for Mr Sivan to use his lens he still captures the moments that do not need words.

4. Blood Brothers (2007).
Directed by: Vishal Bharadwaj.
Story idea by: Matthew Robbins and Ajit Ahuja.
Starring: Siddharth, Pavan Malhotra and Ayesha Takia.
URL: Blood Brothers

This story brings in the most courageous factor in the AIDS awareness. The point of view of the main victim, the one with the disease. This is the best short among the four. An ordinary man hears his doctor say that he is HIV positive. Devastated by the news he gives up on his life to find something that out smarts him. This is an absolutely astonishing story. This movie proves the fact that you do not need 1000 cuts in a 5 min movie to make it interesting. Though non-linearity exists in the narration it never seems a cliche by the creation of scars on Siddharth’s faces. This short challenges the viewer by putting in the shoes of the protagonist and ask them what if? Kudos to Mr Bharadwaj. This one is a must see.

Overall rating: 8/10.

Original text here.

PS: If the links given in the post are not good or working, you can also search for these movies on Youtube yourself. They are there too. In case there is any problem, you may contact me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Foul Sport

Today I found a mail in my mailbox which I found worth sharing, even though it was a chain mail, as it was a revelation to me, and can be for many others. Here are the contents of the mail:

This is me.... a Baby Seal..



Norway and Canada have a new kind of tourism. Killing baby seals!!!! They call it 'hunting' and it's a sport



You want to call this sport ??



Is he a sportsman???





Why?



You're our only hope !!!



Please let it stop. This barbarism shouldn't be possible in our society



Don't turn your back on us, we are so defenseless, we have no guns, please help us..!!!



I know these images seem painful for you, but we feel the pain...!! We are being slaughtered by ruthless people and it's going on RIGHT NOW...!!!



What gives him the right to kill us. Who is he to decide about life and death



What kind of sport is this..?? I didn't harm anyone..!! I was just swimming around doing nothing, now I'm dead...!!



Please help me and my friends...!!!




You can't just ignore these images..?? Keep silent and doing nothing makes you guilty...!!



Please help us...!!





Please don't leave us alone...!!



STOP THE KILLING OF SEALS
You can make a statement by
forwarding this mail
to as many people as you can.
Bring these murderers to the attention
of world leaders.
Thank you.... !!!!!


THIS IS THEIR HOME TOO

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Aren't we a bit too much?

India's performance at Beijing Olympics has been much better compared to previous ones. And Abhinav Bindra is getting a lot of encouragement from various people and organisations, not to mention the coverage given by the media and the respect from the countrymen, which is expected and desired. But isn't it that in some ways some of us go too far sometimes?

Consider these:

  • The government of Bihar will be building an Abhinav Bindra stadium.
  • National Rifles Association of India and Milkha Singh suggest that Abhinav Bindra should get the Highest Indian Civilian Award, Bharat Ratna.
  • We read articles titled 'Is India's Mohammad Ali finally here?' as boxer Akhil Kumar enters the second round of Olympics.

I feel we sometimes do it too much and this may even affect those people negatively from whom we expect this much.

The interesting thing is that we find all the talent of the country only during Olympics, otherwise the media of our cricket-crazy country is happy running behind the so-called 'men-in-blue' even when they are in birthday parties.

As far as the Bharat Ratna for Abhinav is considered, I personally feel it will be an extremely exaggerated reaction if not exactly idiotic as I feel Bharat Ratna is too high an award at this stage. It can be understood simply by asking if we shall be giving out 10 Bharat Ratnas a year if India wins 10 Gold medals sometime? And leave that stage, what if more athletes win medals this time itself, say Paes-Bhupati and Akhil Kumar? Shall we be awarding 3 Bharat Ratnas or shall we be awarding it to the first one because his was an event that was scheduled to finish earlier?

I think we, that is the media of this country, as well as the countrymen, should behave in a bit more matured manner and governments should encourage sports by doing proper work on it, not by announcing yet-another-stadium that we know the end of.

Abhinav Bindra's Blog

So it is now over and the time for me to return home has arrived. I know my life is not goign to be even close to the same upon return but it is something i am going to have to embrace and actually enjoy which i am at this moment finding way more daunting than shooting...

Here it is: Link to Abhinav Bindra's own Blog: http://abhinavbindra.blogspot.com

Read about the Indian Olympic Hero's journey to Beijing, in his own words. I hope you too leave a commennt there.

News?? It's Prime Time!

Most of the times I feel there is no use talking about news channels. They seem to be a bunch of utterly useless people now. But then, it's not actually possible not to talk about them.

So here is more. What I recently found, and it's something I think I should have found much earlier, is the news channels' love for prime time.

It used to be a prime time when there was news on television during the Doordarshan era. But then times changed and with news channels pouring in, Prime Time news became a bit different, more of specialization than news. And now, it seems that news channels only want to show Prime Time programs, more than any news.

It was around 7.25 this evening when I found part of a story about a building that collapsed in Mumbai. I couldn't find the full details and so I started surfing channels.

But to my surprise, national news channels, all three of them which I get through my cable operator, were busy showing advertisements of their programs to be shown at prime time. I kept switching among the channels hoping I would find something as the clock strikes 7.30, but to my surprise, all channels started showing their 'programs' prepared for 7.30 and I had to log onto the net for the news report.

The question that comes to my mind is that what is the point in having 24 hour news channels if we cannot find news there, not even on their tickers.

In fact I feel MTV is the best news channel nowadays as I can find most of the news I need on the MTV Ticker.

PS: My cable operator claims he shows four national news channels. He had counted India TV too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Unlucky??

News channels might have tried their best to prove that 08.08.08 was an unlucky date, and the same was declared by most of astrologers and priests shown on these channels, but Indian film Industry, actually one of the most superstitious bunch of people, have found 08.08.08 extremely lucky for them as the movie released on the date, Singh is Kinng, seems to be the biggest hit of the year till date.

I think Akshay proves yet again that he is not one to fear these superstitions. That's the real Khatron ka Khiladi.

Reading Difficulties

Here is an article that I liked, even though I feel books should cost less. From Hindustan Times, 12th August '08.

In a 1946 essay, ‘Books v Cigarettes’, George Orwell explored, with penetrating and amusing insight, the reading and book-buying habits of his fellow Englishmen. He took the assumption — as prevalent in the England of 1946 as the India of 2008 — that “the buying, or even the reading, of books is an expensive hobby and beyond the reach of the average person”, and showed how much of a myth it was.

Taking the national average of smoking and drinking, Orwell demonstrated how “the [annual] cost of reading, even if you buy books instead of borrowing them and take in a fairly large number of periodicals, does not amount to more than the combined cost of smoking and drinking”.

I returned to Orwell’s essay after noticing over and over again just how few of us in public places have a book with us. How many people have you seen reading in an airport/on a plane/on the beach/having a solitary meal/on a park bench/at a salon/on a train or bus/in a doctor’s waiting room? Perhaps the only pleasure of travelling in an aeroplane nowadays — in what Jonathan Raban called its “sealed pod” — is to be able to read undistracted, free of the clutter and the white noise of our own lives. Phones can’t ring. Strangers don’t usually try and make conversation. Emails don’t ping in. Is there a better time?

Yet we don’t, really, do we?

The whole sub-genre of literary journalism alive in the West, that of ‘Summer Books’ or ‘Holiday Books’, doesn’t quite exist for us. What do we do on our holidays? Oh, we talk a lot on our mobile phones. (The roaming rates have been slashed again, let’s chatter some more.) But away from home and its attendant daily annoyances, we seldom commune with a dead master (or a living author).

We read, the 16th century English poet John Dryden told us, “for instruction and delight”. We read, as the Victorian novelist George Eliot said, because “art is the nearest thing to life”. What that means, the critic Louis Bayard explains, is that “to approach the mystery of our own condition, we have to grasp the mystery by which words make worlds”.

But we don’t seem to be doing enough reading or buying. An author’s sales figures in India (unless you happen to be Chetan Bhagat — not an aspiration anyone who fancies himself as a writer will share) are dismal. Sea of Poppies, Amitav Ghosh’s latest, intricately plotted, page turner of a maritime adventure, is expected to sell 30,000 copies across the country. (And while we’re at it, this, his publishers say, will be one of the biggest sellers of the year for them.) It is Ghosh’s big breakthrough book, his most accessible, almost crossover novel. The equivalent in England would perhaps be Ian McEwan and Atonement. That sold millions, and is still selling.

The old argument about English being the language of the metropolitan elite won’t wash here. There are in Delhi or Mumbai alone more than a million buyers of daily English newspapers. And there are 30,000 buyers across India for probably the most-hyped, most riveting English book of the year from an Indian writer. Also, even allowing for the thing about English being the preserve of the elite, is Bengali literature flying off the shelves? Is Hindi? Not when I last noticed.

So why are we so loathe to buy books? Too expensive, we say. How can young people afford them? Well, let’s use an Orwellian parameter to calculate things.

It costs Rs 200 to watch a movie on a weekend evening at a multiplex. (And that’s without the popcorn and the soft drinks.) Now my edition of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road — for my money the finest novel of 2007 and a New York Times bestseller, which means that a lot of people, including those who make their reading choices based on what Oprah recommends in her book club, have bought it — costs Rs 195. A Penguin Modern Classic — the storehouse of the finest literature in the history of literature — usually costs Rs 250.

It costs Rs 900-1,200 for a meal for two at a restaurant in Mumbai. You could get the new Ghosh and the new book of stories by Jhumpa Lahiri (award-winning, finely calibrated, exquisite tales of belonging and loss) for Rs 1,049. It costs Rs 125-150 for a coffee and a sandwich at one of the coffee chains. A Penguin Popular Classic — the cheaper version of the Penguin Modern Classic — is available for Rs 95. Oh, and my Orwell Centenary Edition of Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays costs Rs 367. That’s less than what I would spend for a few drinks at a Mumbai bar. So it’s not the money. And it’s certainly not that we don’t have the time. (If I could lay my hands on a study that totted up the amount of time we spend sending text messages or watching puerile rubbish on TV or travelling, vacant-minded, and not reading…)

It’s just that we’d rather not buy books. Most of us choose not to.

How many times have you dined out/watched a movie/gone for a drink in, say, the past three months? And exactly how many books have you bought in that period? How many things have you actively sought out and read? (Text messages, credit card bills and restaurant menus don’t count.)

What is it in our culture — especially our aggressively consumerist, burgeoning middle-class and affluent, urban, elite culture — that makes us shy away from reading and buying? It suggests that we don’t have the patience for it, don’t quite appreciate what it can give us, don’t derive enough pleasure for it.

“We used to build civilisations,” Bill Bryson once wrote. “Now we build shopping malls.” And we love them. We can’t love shopping enough. But we don’t love shopping for books. It is an affront to the notion of being civilised.

Soumya Bhattacharya

Original text here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Post-Gold

Prices of Gold have been falling for last one week. And there is a number of ladies in my home and family who are planning to buy some Gold and wishing it falls down more.

I think it will. As Abhinav Bindra will be bringing some extra Gold home while coming back from Beijing. Though I wish and hope there will be more Golden moments in Beijing for India, history doesn't allow me to expect a lot, and considering we have not fell down in terms of overall performance in Olympics for past 12 years, ever since Paes won us a Bronze in 1996 olympics, fighting Andre Agassi in the semis, one gold is where we should have landed after Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore's silver last Olympics.

Fast forward to 2008. Abhinav Bindra wins a gold in 10 meter air rifle. Of course 95% of Indians will be learning the name of shooting events for the first time, it being a conservative estimate.

First of all, my hearty congratulations to Bindra. Anything said here is not meant to dishonor the national hero by any means.

Now, let us see what happens when Abhinav Bindra wins the Gold. As soon as we know Abhinav wins, there is a usual race among news channels to capture the nearest. Some reach his home to find his parents dealing with neighbors living at the other end of town whereas some try to reach him on phone before the national anthem in the Beijing's Olympic stadium could finish, rest trying to make up their stories with relations and coaches.

But the interesting part starts when it seems that entire contry except Srinagar where a curfew was imposed, was celebrating Abhinav's victory on roads with Dhols and fireworks. Not just in Chandigarh and Dehradun, people were found celebrating even in Meerut which had no specific relation to the national hero dancing with the national flag of India, though it was held upside down. Surely the men in front of camera cannot be framed guilty as they are too happy being on television but the channel showing the national flag upside down could have given it a thought while showing the clip repeatedly.

Television was also showing news of lacs of rupees being announced for the shooter by state governements that are trying to swim out of their debts of crores, as it was a great chance to prove our commitment to sports and sportsmen. But of these, the second most interesting was BCCI giving Rs 25 lac to Bindra, as if it were ADC, and number one was Bihar government's announcement to build a Bindra stadium. I wish that's not a cricket ground.

And among all this, there was a bunch that enjoyed the moment of Abhinav's victory as their own. It was the Indian cricket team, who lost another test and the series to Sri Lanka but as Abhinav won, there was almost no coverage on the match loss, whereas it would have been an experts' day on news channels who would lament the loss of our cricket team.

In the end, I also feel that some leading towns of India may see the rise of small shooting ranges where you could 'Learn shooting in 15 days' or something like that. And in my views which might be considered pessimistic, there will hardly be anything positive for Indian sports resulting from this because we will still be seeing the rates of gold day after tomorrow and mom will be sending me to my study so that I become a computer engineer and then I will be able to buy lot of gold.

But whatever the result, Abhinav has proved that we CAN do it. So if there are a few moms who try, we can WIN some more gold in future.

PS: ADC stands for access deficit charge that was paid to (a losing) BSNL till some time ago by leading companies like Airtel and Hutch as only BSNL operated in remote areas.

World's Luckiest Cricket Team

Indian Cricket team might not be the world's best Cricket team. In fact it is not. But surely they're the luckiest ones. I hope you have no doubts about it.

India lost a test series as Sri Lanka won 2-1. But both the times it so happened that nobody seemed to care.

The first match India lost was on the evening when Ahmedabad was going through serial blasts and no channel was interested in covering match as people wanted to see exactly what was happening in Ahmedabad. The score of 138 could not be heard among the blasts that rocked the country.

And then it turned out to be the third test, an almost similar show with not as bad scores. This time it was the good news that helped people forget the loss of Indian cricket team. Or rather, once again didn't give them a chance to think about cricket as shooter Abhinav Bindra gave India it's first Gold Medal since 1980.

It's not possible for any team to win all matches on pure luck, but this team has proved something different, that you need not always win. Sometimes you can perform pathetic, drastic, lose matches and still, luck favoring, you can escape the fury of the media and hence people.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Computers

Which car can be run easily on a computer? n how??

Alto.

Simple, by pressing Alt + O.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Be positive

To be positive in life, u need to lose something.

It's electrons.

About Computers

Building a computer with parts takes at least two days. Because of which part?

ROM.

Because ROM was not built in a day.

***

If RAM is avatar of Ram, which part is avatar of Sita?

Hard Disk. We call it SATA.

Loyalty

Loyalty: a concept used in 20th century where a person was devoted and faithful to a sovereign, government, leader, cause etc.

Loyalty came under a cloud when people first started leaving MNCs every second year. Political loyalty came to an end the day Left, after it left the government, left its old leader Somnath Chatterjee.